Catharine Reid appointed to über-important position as chair of Passenger Transportation Board

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      One of the hottest political potatoes in B.C. is ride-sharing.

      Should Uber and Lyft be given licences to pick up passengers? Or is this just going to destroy the value of taxi licences, costing the B.C. NDP key seats that helped John Horgan become premier?

      Today, the NDP government announced that a veteran civil servant, Catharine Reid, has been appointed to chair the Passenger Transportation Board for a three-year term.

      This could leave her in a position to determine the extent of ride-sharing services in Metro Vancouver.

      It comes as B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver is clamouring for more ride-sharing. He even plans on tabling legislation to try to make it happen.

      Reid has been a senior bureaucrat in B.C. and Yukon. For several years, she served as public service commissioner in Yukon Party Darrel Pasloski's government, which was defeated in 2016.

      When Reid's predecessor, Don Zurowski, chaired the Passenger Transportation Board, it shut down Uber's passenger service in Vancouver in 2012.

      As a Vancouver city councillor, Geoff Meggs spearheaded the passing of a moratorium on new taxi licences; now, he's Premier John Horgan's chief of staff.

      The B.C. NDP's recent election platform promised a "level playing field" for all providers of passenger transportation services.

      "We need to 'level up' standards across the province to ensure we don't lose low-cost, predictable fares, accessible services, safe cars, and drivers subject to appropriate criminal record checks," the party pledged.

      What this means for ride-sharing is anyone's guess.

      In the meantime, the City of Vancouver has a moratorium on new taxi licences, which was avidly promoted by a former councillor Geoff Meggs, who is now the premier's chief of staff.

      Despite the moratorium, Uber has been investing in an urban mapping program around Metro Vancouver to prepare for the day when it might be allowed to pick up passengers.